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Aircraft plant may expand to Covington
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 The city of Covington took a preliminary step in making about 25-acres of land available at the Covington Municipal Airport for an aircraft assembly plant looking to expand their business.

Covington's city council voted to approve sending out a lease cancellation notice to lease owner Stephen Ratchford, who leases out about 58-acres of land for a privately owned rehabilitation business.

City manager Steve Horton said the unknown company under the name "Project Quadrangle," has looked at land south of the runway near Williams Road. He said the company just wanted to see what kind of land was available and nothing was finalized.

"I would say they are seeking information. I wouldn't call this an active prospect at this point," Horton said.

He said according to the lease agreement the city had to give at least a six-month notice to Ratchford to cancel in the event the company decided to move forward with obtaining land for their project. He said Ratchford has already been notified about the lease cancellation.

Horton said even if the plant decided to go forward with their project, there was still a chance it could operate on the same property as the existing company because they were only seeking 25 of the 58-acres of land.

Horton said the company estimated their project would cost about $75 million and could bring 300 or more jobs to the area.

Newton County Chamber of Commerce president Hunter Hall said the company was looking to expand and contacted the state of Georgia about what locations were available. He said the state then identified communities that were possible prospects based on the company's criteria for the project.

"The project is in the very, very initial stages of inquiry. It is quite a long shot and we've got several hurdles to get through if they were able to consider us," Hall said.

Hall said they don't know exactly what all the company is looking for and the company could possibly be looking at other states for the project. But he said it would be a great addition to the community.

"We can only control how the community is presented, we can't control what the company is looking for," Hall said. "It's a great project, it's a great job creator and we're doing everything in our power to bring them here."